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iPhone 4S could launch this summer

A modestly improved iPhone 4 could be launched this summer, before a major upgrade is released later this year, in the form of the iPhone 5.

A modestly improved iPhone 4, the iPhone 4S, could be launched this summer, before a major upgrade is released later this year in the form of the iPhone 5. That's according to the latest speculation loaf to emerge from the Internet rumour mill.

The iPhone 4 launched in June last year. After a massive wait, a white version of the phone recently popped up, but we're still due for a more substantial refresh. If the iPhone 5 is indeed four months, or even six, from launch, it's not entirely implausible that Apple will launch an iPhone 4 upgrade to keep its fans happy in the meantime.

When the iPhone 3G was superseded by the iPhone 3GS, the main hardware improvement was an upgraded processor. If Apple chooses a similar upgrade path for the iPhone 4, we may see an identical handset loaded with a dual-core A5 processor, as used in the iPad 2. This could offer a significant performance boost, leaving major hardware upgrades, such as a largerimproved screen, higher-res camera, tweaked light sensor and NFC support, for the iPhone 5.

Sticking a new processor in the current iPhone 4 would keep production costs down but provide the best platform for iOS 5, which may be detailed at next month's Worldwide Developers Conference.

The only problem with this theory is that it could push the iPhone 5 back until next summer, based on Apple's current launch pattern of one iPhone per year. Might Apple be about to release more than one handset in close succession? How about a cheaper iPhone 4S and a top-of-the-line iPhone 5 at the same time? It works for every other mobile-phone company on the planet, so why not Apple?

Would you be happy if an iPhone 4S launched this year? Are you sick of waiting for the iPhone 5? Let us know in the comments section below or on our Facebook wall.